Nursing Home Abuse: Malnutrition

Approximately 1 in 10 nursing home residents experiences malnutrition or dehydration, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

Malnutrition is a severe but often disregarded problem in nursing homes around the world. It can have devastating and potentially fatal consequences, yet it remains an issue overshadowed by headline-grabbing stories of physical abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, this means that many suffer quietly in the shadows without any sort of remedy or justice.

Aging is a natural part of life, and as we age, it can become increasingly difficult to take care of our own health. Unfortunately, the long-term residential care provided by nursing homes should help us support and protect elderly individuals who are unable to do so for themselves—yet far too often, many elderly people suffer from malnutrition due to neglect or mistreatment in these facilities. Malnutrition doesn’t just weaken an elder’s physical health; it can have severe mental and emotional effects too.

Contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at Breit Biniazan if you have witnessed elderly abuse in nursing homes.


Definition of Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a term used to describe an unhealthy condition caused by insufficient, imbalanced, or excessive intake of nutrients. It can occur in both adults and children and is the most common form of malnutrition worldwide, with serious health implications for those affected. Malnutrition is reflected in the form of under-nutrition, which includes conditions like micronutrient deficiency and stunted growth; as well as over-nutrition, which includes people who consume too many calories relative to their body’s needs. In extreme cases, malnutrition can cause death due to calorie deficiencies and micronutrient shortfalls, resulting in weakened immune systems and diseases. It is, therefore, vitally important that individuals maintain balanced diets while monitoring nutrient intakes to ensure they get sufficient amounts of essential micronutrients needed for health and well-being.

Signs and Symptoms of Malnutrition

In order to help prevent or identify malnutrition, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. These range from loss of body weight, changes in hair or skin color, a weakened immune system leading to increased vulnerability and illnesses and slowed mental development in children. Other signs include decreased appetite and fatigue, lack of concentration, and brittle nails. Unfortunately, sometimes those suffering from malnutrition may go unnoticed or ignored due to its often silent presentation. Therefore, it’s important to be able to recognise these signs so that proper diagnosis and treatment can be administered quickly and effectively.

Causes of Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Malnutrition is a serious problem in nursing homes, with the elderly facing a variety of physical, psychological, and economic issues that increase their risk. Poor quality food, lack of nutrition education, inadequate dietary intake, limited mobility or access to meals, poor appetite control, and inappropriate social factors can all contribute to malnutrition in nursing home residents. In addition, certain health conditions affect nutrient absorption or utilize them differently than healthy individuals; for instance, diabetes may cause patients to require greater amounts of carbohydrates or fats. Regardless of the cause, malnutrition has far-reaching implications for the elderly population— reducing life expectancy as well as increasing risk for infection and other medical complications.

Prevention of Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Malnutrition is a common and dangerous problem facing many nursing homes today. Malnutrition in elderly populations causes significant morbidity and mortality, as well as increased healthcare costs. Fortunately, steps can be taken to reduce the incidence of malnutrition and its associated risks both through proactive assessment and intervention. 

  • Nursing homes should put into place comprehensive nutrition programs that offer menu modifications, nutritional supplements, meal delivery services, and the promotion of healthy eating habits. 
  • Additionally, they should regularly assess their residents’ nutrition status using appropriate methods such as BMI or nutrient level testing. Working together with dieticians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, they will be able to help ensure optimal nutrition for all nursing home patients, thus improving quality of life while helping to reduce preventable costs.

Legal Responsibilities of Nursing Home Staff

Nursing home staff members have a legal responsibility to provide high-quality care and services for the residents in their facility. This includes ensuring the safety and well-being of elderly patients while also providing them with basic physical and emotional needs. Characteristics of quality care include:

  • prompt response to requests 
  • empathy towards the patient’s unique situation
  • respect for privacy rights 
  • complete records of all medical care provided
  • attentive monitoring at all times

Nursing home staff must adhere to these expectations in order to fulfill their legal responsibility and ensure proper care is being provided. Failure to meet these obligations may result in disciplinary action or legal implications. Nursing home staff must be diligent in providing quality care to those they serve in order to honor this crucial requirement.

Rights of Nursing Home Residents

Nursing home residents have rights that should be honored and respected. These include the right to dignity, to be heard and receive appropriate care, and to be free from abuse and neglect. Nursing home residents must also be allowed to participate in their own care, including making decisions about their medical care, daily activities, and lifestyle choices. 

Facilities are obligated to provide quality care and services that meet the needs of their residents. Residents also have the right to voice complaints without fear of retaliation, participate in activities outside of the nursing home, and make independent decisions regarding personal finances, privacy, visitors, clothing choices and religious activities. All of these rights are meant to ensure a safe and secure environment for those residing in nursing homes.

Reporting Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Reporting malnutrition in nursing homes is both important and difficult, but healthcare professionals must be committed to ensuring the health of the individuals living in these homes. Malnutrition is a preventable issue, and it’s essential that nursing home staff are trained to detect warning signs and take action early on. Measuring food intake records and body weight can be key indicators in determining potential malnutrition cases, which should then be reported to the relevant medical team. 

Nutritional supplementation, along with medical intervention, should also be provided for at-risk individuals as soon as possible. All stakeholders in this situation have an obligation to ensure that vulnerable residents are given the nutrition they need, so effective reporting systems should be introduced along with ongoing monitoring to reduce the incidence of malnutrition across the sector.

Legal Action

If you have witnessed elderly abuse in nursing homes or you have a family member or loved one who has suffered from malnutrition in a nursing home setting, you can file a lawsuit against caregivers to receive compensation. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Breit Biniazan for assistance and information regarding a nursing home resident or any nursing home neglect. The lawyers at Breit Biniazan work to provide resources and raise awareness among communities regarding malnourishment and health problems in nursing facilities.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

At Breit Biniazan, our team of specialized lawyers will assess the situation

and make sure you understand all of your options and the procedures related to recovering compensation from the party responsible for the damage. By getting expert guidance from a legal professional, you will be able to get financial support quickly and easily. Contact Breit Biniazan personal injury lawyers for a consultation.

The lawyers of Breit Biniazan are known for their fierce representation, and we won’t rest until you win fair compensation for your Head-on collision personal injury case. 

Call Breit Biniazan at (855) 212-8200 for a free, confidential case evaluation today.

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